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Depositing publications in PubMed Central

Upon acceptance for publication, either the final peer-reviewed manuscript or published article must be made available on PubMed Central within 12 months of the official date of journal publication.

There are four methods to comply with this requirement:

  • Method A: the publisher submits the final published article without author involvement.
  • Method B: the publisher submits the final published article upon author request (often for a fee, which may be charged to most NIH grants).
  • Method C: the author deposits the final peer-reviewed manuscript in the NIH Manuscript Submission System (NIHMS). (Instructions for using NIHMS)
  • Method D: the publisher submits the final peer-reviewed manuscript via NIHMS. (Note: the author must approve the paper for processing and display).

To determine which method is supported by a particular journal, check NIH's list of Method A and Method B or D journals. NIH provides a useful guide for determining which method to pursue and the steps to submitting your manuscripts.

Note that the final published article is submitted in Methods A and B, but the final peer-reviewed manuscript is submitted in Methods C and D. The law requires only that the final peer-reviewed manuscript be submitted. Be aware that the author almost always relinquishes the right to post the final published article upon signing the publication/copyright agreement with the publisher.

It is possible to deposit papers that do not fall under the Public Access Policy, but only if PubMed Central has a formal agreement with the journals to do so. The NIHMS system may only be used to deposit articles that are linked to NIH funding.

Remember that no matter which method is used, articles that are supported by NIH funding need to acknowledge those grants. This acknowledgement not only fulfills an NIH requirement, but also notifies the publisher that the research is supported by NIH funding. Method A publishers will then know to submit the article to PubMed Central.